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by Phil Bencomo
Many months ago in January, to be exact Lou Piniella, attending his first Cubs Convention, made quite a statement, about his intentions and demeanor, when he said, "It's time to bring some swagger back to Chicago."
It took a few months of play, but Piniella's done it: He's turned a lackadaisical organization seemingly content with ticket sales and spreading the Cubbie brand into a team with a burning desire to win, no matter the inning or deficit. Cubbie swagger, indeed.
As was evident over the weekend and last night, this is a Cub team that will not give up. The hero seems to change every game, too, be it a player big (Ramirez) or small (Theriot).
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Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
If A's fans are "very happy" about the trade of Jason Kendall, I should be sad, shouldn't I? Instead, I'm ambivalent. Kendall's been atrocious this season but the Koyie Hill/Rob Bowen/Geovany Soto combo certainly hasn't been any better for the Cubs.
Now, if this is Hendry's idea of a big, pull-out-all-the-stops-because-we're-going-to-win-this-thing type of deal, then I'll be a tad more upset.
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Until Larry Rothschild came out to the mound yesterday to talk to Rich Hill, I hadn't really thought about the Cubs' pitching coach in some time. With the starting staff doing so well, there's been no need to point fingers. But that's how just about everything works: If you do a good job, it often goes unnoticed; you mess up, and suddenly everybody has their eyes on you.
So I can't help but wonder: Just how much of the Cubs' pitching success is due to Larry? Marquis' turnaround, the emergence of Marshall and Marmol ... is it all Larry's doing?